The idea of listening to my body used to annoy me more than anything.
My body had not been kind to me. After a recent multiple sclerosis diagnosis, my body felt like a full-on alien. I had no idea what it was saying besides “f-you”. I couldn’t predict anything and if I tried, I was usually wrong.
Plus, actually, I did listen to my body thankyouverymuch. I knew when I was tired, energized, hangry, full, cranky, happy.
To be brutally honest, any suggestion that I had to listen to my body made me feel defensive. Like I was doing something wrong. I was listening and I thought I heard all my body had to say (which was very clear, “you’re hungry, you’re mad, now go eat some cheesy poofs”).
Pretty simple if you asked me.
At that time, I had no idea my body had way more to say.
What I heard were the “See Spot Run” levels of communication. I had no idea my body could recite poetry.
There’s a good reason why I first thought I had heard all my body had to say.
Hearing our bodies communicate is like walking into a loud room filled with people.
At first, we just hear the noise and the occasional loudest voice over the crowd saying something basic like “I’m hungry” or “I’m laughing so hard right now!”
But if we tune into the rest of the crowd, we notice there are different groups talking to each other. Then we notice that these different groups sound different than the others. Maybe one group is American, one is British, the other is Canadien.
Then we notice a group in the back that’s not speaking at all – they’re expressing themselves through painting.
How can we make sense of it all?
To hear our body’s poetry, we need to identify the groups in the room and listen to each one individually.
One group tells us how we’re feeling emotionally. Another tells us how we’re feeling physically. And another tells us how we’re feeling energetically. The more we listen, the more groups we find. The more groups we find, the deeper and more specific the message.
When we try to listen to the whole room at once, we don’t quite know which group is shouting the loudest. Which is why we can clearly hear “I’m hungry,” but not realize this is coming from an emotion instead of a physical need.
I was shocked when I started distinguishing the groups and finding just how detailed my body’s messages can be. As I teach people to develop the skill of listening to the quietest voices, they’re floored by how nuanced their bodies are.
Life is much easier when you know how your energy will be for the week ahead.
We don’t need to fear being blindsided by a lack of energy that shuts us down. It is possible to know what our body will feel like days in advance.
What can come with this knowledge is a deep feeling of confidence. That confidence simply doesn’t exist when you’re waiting to be blindsided by your body’s reaction to something.
When I listened to my body more intently, I changed a point of frustration into a relationship. A deeply personal one I can depend on to give me valuable information anytime I want to listen.
How about you? Are you listening to “See Spot Run” or poetry?